The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State will go on as planned.
There have been fears that the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the state may hinder the conduct of the election.
Daily Trust had reported how politicians went into hiding and suspended campaigns as a result of the chaos in the state.
Amid the uncertainty over the election, Director, Voter Education and Publicity, INEC, Victor Ayodele Aluko, told Daily Trust on Monday that the emergency Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security meeting would among others deliberate on the way forward for the Anambra election.
Asked if INEC was considering postponing the election as a result of the insecurity in the state, he said the answer would come after the meeting.
But speaking at the meeting, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, assured that the election will not be postponed.
He recalled that during the ICCES last quarterly meeting on 9 September 2021, the committee received briefings and reviewed preparations for the election and that a major concern raised by members was the security situation in the state in particular; the adjoining states in general and how this might affect preparations and possibly the conduct of the election.
“Unfortunately, the situation has deteriorated markedly since our last meeting. Many innocent lives have been lost and property destroyed. From the reports we have received, the stated goal of many of the attackers is that the governorship election scheduled for 6 November 2021 must not hold.
“This is worrisome for the commission. We are deeply concerned that specific electoral facilities and materials could once more become targets of attack. Recall that in May this year, our State Office at Awka was attacked and all the non-sensitive materials assembled for the election at the time were destroyed.
“In addition, our store, collation centre and the main office building were either totally or substantially damaged. The Commission also lost several vehicles to be used for the election.
“We Are Ready” – INEC
“We appreciate the enormous challenges that the security agencies are presently facing in Anambra State, which entail not only securing the electoral process, but also enforcing law and order generally.
“This is particularly worrisome because the security agencies have also become prime targets of these mindless attacks.
“We will continue to work with the security agencies and in consultation with respected opinion leaders in Anambra State and the National Peace Committee to ensure that these hit-and-run attacks do not derail the electoral process.
“To underscore this determination, the commission is implementing two more activities on the Timetable for the election in the next few days. The register of voters will be presented to political parties in Awka on Thursday 7 October 2021. On the same day, the commission will publish the final list of candidates for the election,” he said.
He also expressed joy that the commission have almost fully recovered from the attack, as the destroyed buildings have either been completely repaired or are nearing completion and the commission equally have fully replaced the materials destroyed.
He said, “This rapid recovery has only been possible because this is an off-season election. We have sourced some of these materials such as the 326 electric generators and vehicles destroyed in the attack from neighbouring states.”
The INEC boss, however, admitted that should the commission again lose vital materials and facilities, the ongoing preparations will be adversely affected.
He said INEC is particularly concerned about the safety of voters and Election Day staff, including security officials, who have also become the targets of the attacks.
He said the thousands of young Nigerians that we intend to deploy for the election, most of them National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members and university students, need to be reassured of their personal safety.